Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has filed a lawsuit against an opposition leader seeking TL 250,000 ($30,000) in damages for remarks likening him to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Erdoğan filed the lawsuit against İYİ (Good) Party leader Meral Akşener who at a party meeting on Tuesday talked about a government crisis in Israel where a general election had to be repeated four times in two years and said Netanyahu was exerting pressure on his rivals just like Erdoğan.
“He is the Israeli version of Erdoğan,” said Akşener, referring to Netanyahu, adding that he did not hesitate to target the lives of civilians and children in order to stop his rivals.
Akşener attracted an angry reaction from Erdoğan, who denounced Israel as a “cruel terrorist state” due to recent clashes between Israeli riot police and Palestinians in Jerusalem.
Erdoğan’s lawyer Hüseyin Aydın filed the lawsuit against Akşener at an Ankara court on Thursday on accusations that Akşener directed serious insults at Erdoğan, which violated his personal rights.
The petition said Erdoğan is the only world leader who raises his voice against the attacks on Muslims and their holy sites.
Erdoğan, who responded to Akşener’s remarks during a TV program on Thursday, said: “The politician who is so shameless as to compare me with Netanyahu … is so miserable that she doesn’t even know where Palestine is on a map.”
In response Akşener tweeted that what she thinks is miserable is to talk about going to Gaza but failing to do so for eight years, attacking Israel but bowing to China and carrying a “Zionist medal” with pride.
“The really miserable thing is to not do what’s necessary but to always make empty talk,” said Akşener.
She was referring to a pledge by Erdoğan to visit Gaza in 2013, his close relations with China despite China’s policies of violence and assimilation targeting Uyghurs and an award given to Erdoğan by the American Jewish Congress in 2004.